Monday, October 7, 2013

Used Car Review - Kia Rio (2000-2005)

Is this more budget than your Jolibee or McDonalds meal? Myk Belmonte rediscovers this vehicle for today.

2000-2005 Kia Rio

We all know that there are meals in fast food chains that appeal to those with limited budgets. And in the automotive industry, these are the vehicles that target the first time buyers backed up with a fuel efficient motor. Price does not mean the vehicle is great, it is just one factor.

Replacing both the Kia Pride and Avella (both are originally Fords) is the DC Rio which was first launched in 2000. This is an all original Kia model, not anymore a product of badge engineering. Car and Driver magazine praised this vehicle for its soft styling and cheap price, while criticizing the driving experience and reliability. Both sedan and hatchback versions were offered, with the latter having more options than the sedan. It sold well like the Jolibee 49ners meal and the McDonalds McSavers meal. Production stopped in 2005 to give way to the somewhat improved JB Rio.

Columbian Autocar Corporation brought in the Rio to replace the Pride sedan (the hatchback stayed on until 2003) at the turn of the millennium. This vehicle stayed glued on dealership floors, no thanks to limited variants and the Kia reliability was derided during that time. Until 2005, only one variant for the sedan and hatchback were made available, definitely a disadvantage.

Value and Costs
Cheap when it is new, and still cheap at used car prices. The first generation Rio, whether sedan or hatch, can be had for between P100,000-P250,000. The prices are alluring, but is this a great value? Let us continue.

Fuel economy is pretty decent, thanks to a electronic fuel injection delivery system. As for the parts, since this didn't sell well, some dealers may not have stock so best head to specialist shops. Oh, since this vehicle isn't known for its stellar quality, so check for every possible place and component.

Exterior and Interior
Soft lines come standard with the Rio, whether it has the trunk or not. Let us start at the back, the large tail lamp clusters can be noticed. For the sedan, the license plate holder is integrated with the rear bumper for 2000-2002 models, updated ones have it integrated with the trunk. At the front, pleasing to the eyes angles are present. To distinguish the model you are getting, let us make your life easy; the grille for 2000-2002 has a plain Kia logo in the middle with a small horizontal bar on it, 2003-2005 models gain a color coded bar that crosses the grille. The hatchback has a third window that streams properly, unlike the one found in the 1996-2000 Hyundai Elantra wagon. The sedan comes with steel rims which is 13 inches in size while the hatchback has 13 inch alloy rims.

Simplicity is the theme inside the Rio, with controls placed logically and within driver's reach. Interior quality, is, well, you definitely get what you pay for since hard plastics abound. For the equipment, the sedan misses out the following items (apart from the engine): a driver's airbag, power windows, power mirrors, and power door locks. If you want something fully equipped, we suggest choosing the hatchback since you get something versatile and flexible. Cabin space is decent enough for four, tight for five.

There are two engines, but only one for the sedan and one for the hatchback. Standard among sedan models is the B3 1,324cc that carries 82hp at 5,550rpm and 118Nm at 3,000rpm. Going for the hatchback would reward you with the larger B5-DE 1,498cc which packs 106hp at 6,000rpm and 140Nm at 4,500rpm. Both engines aren't slouch in accelerating, but drive them hard you'll be hearing noises. Best keep this below the maximum highway speeds.

Driving Impressions
Driving enthusiasts need not apply here, since steering wont ignite their loins and road bumps are transmitted inside to the pedals and the manual gear stick. Speaking of the manual, best not to hold it for long periods of time. Nothing much to say about in this segment.

Either the Rio is a good or bad purchase, but the cheap price is very tempting for a modern car. However, the sedan is very basic enough while the hatchback is practical all around. Give the sedan a miss while if there is one compelling reason to buy this car, its the hatchback.

The Good:
  • Its cheap
  • Available hatchback body
  • Fuel friendly
The Bad:
  • Sedan is basic in amenities
  • Quality is questionable
  • Refinement is poor
The Pick: Go with the hatchback, it is decently kitted.

Engines: 1,324cc B3 (sedan) and 1,498cc B5-DE (hatchback) I4 gasoline
Power: 82hp @ 5,550rpm (1.3), 106hp @ 6,000rpm (1.5)
Torque: 118Nm @ 3,000rpm (1.3), 140Nm @ 4,500rpm (1.5)
Fuel Consumption: 9-11km/L (city), 10-13km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic (hatchback only)
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear rigid axle with torsion beam

Price (New): P400,000-P570,000
Price (Now): P100,000-P250,000
Rivals: Honda City, Toyota Vios (sedan rivals); Toyota Echo, Toyota Echo Verso, Kia Pride (hatchback rivals)
On Sale: 2000-2005

VGT Korean Auto Parts - 0922 266-1106
Kia Pasay - (02) 852-1490

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